I took my bike off road for the winter and was getting ready to take it to a friend’s house (who has a heated garage) so that I could do a bit of pre-MoT preparation on it.

I have always been very careful. I disconnected the spark plug leads, which meant that I could not use the bike, and set about pushing it on foot to my mate’s house. On a downhill run I sat side saddle on the bike, just to scoot the bike downhill, when I saw a flash of blue light, and two policemen pulled me over. I told them I had disconnected the HT leads, but the bike had no road tax, no MoT and no insurance and I explained exactly what I was doing, namely taking the bike to a mate’s garage to get it ready for its MoT. I don’t think I gave the Police any particular attitude, but I now find myself facing a summons for riding a motorcycle without insurance, without a helmet, no road tax and no MoT. Surely as the motorbike could not function as a motorbike, it is not a motorbike and I’m doing nothing wrong. I have just received the summons, and I really do not know what to do next.

Name and address withheld

Unfortunately, the Police are right. Whilst there are some minor variations in the application of the law on this point, the long and short of it is that your motorbike was a motorbike, notwithstanding the disconnected HT leads. Many of the functions of a motorbike were still available on the switch of the ignition, including lights, brakes, and indeed if you were scooting on a motorcycle with the ignition off, you were a road traffic risk, and therefore needed to have insurance.

As you now have a Magistrates Court summons, the only thing I can suggest to you is that you go to the Magistrates Court and set out why you did what you did (the Magistrates will have some sympathy), but whichever way you look at it, you are going to get a mandatory six points for no insurance. Unless you can show that there was some other form of insurance which covered that motorcycle for road traffic risks I’m afraid you’re nicked. The Magistrates will probably not fine or endorse for the lack of MoT (it’s not an endorsable offence, nor is riding without a helmet), and while the DVLA has the right to prosecute for you taking the bike out on the road while it was SORNed, they are unlikely to do so.

Andrew Dalton

Scooting to the courts, July 2011 Fast Bikes Magazine